Mr. Trump will Inherit a Robust Economy

By Thomas Cooley, Ben Griffy, and Peter Rupert

The BEA presented an early gift to the incoming administration with the final estimate of Q3 GDP growth, revised from 3.2% to 3.5%, the highest growth rate since Q3 of 2014. The strong GDP growth combined with an unemployment rate of 4.4% justifies the Fed’s December interest rate boost.

gdprealchgm-2016-12-22

The increase in real GDP in the third quarter was led by contributions from PCE (contributing 2.0 percentage point, see Table 2 in the link above), exports (1.6p.p.), private inventory investment (0.49p.p.), nonresidential structures (0.3p.p.), and federal government spending (0.16p.p.). Residential fixed investment was a drag on growth, falling for the second consecutive quarter, down 7.7% in Q2 and down 4.1% in Q3.

pcerealchgm-2016-12-22

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The U.S economy will continue to grow through the fourth quarter although it is unclear what impact the Trump election will have on Fourth Quarter results. Wholesale changes in trade policies, or merely expectations of changes in trade policy could begin impacting GDP as early as the next report.

gdp-cyc-trough2016-12-22There is some reason for pessimism on this score because Mr. Trump’s election has already pushed the dollar to new highs – currently nearly at par with the Euro.  This will hurt U.S. exports in the long run. And it may run counter to what Mr. Trump promised if the U.S. loses jobs in the Export industries.  Markets are pricing in a substantial gain in GDP and corporate profits on the basis of what is know so far and the yield curve has steepened significantly. But housing remains weak in the Fourth quarter so far and higher interest rates are not going to help that. The unfortunate fact is that the smoke really hasn’t cleared on Trump’s goals. It remains to be seen whether this optimism is warranted just as it remains to be seen what Mr. Trump’s policies actually turn out to be.

One response

  1. Economics prospects are positive with the expectation that a Trump policy regime will be followed in the future. The US economy declined sharply once it became clear that Obama would be elected beginning in August of 2008. What people expect the future policy regime to be determines what happens now. You should read the Lucas Critique.

    Edward C. Prescott

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